This is an excerpt from my second book, Managing the Sales Process, available on Amazon.com. You can find a series of these excerpts in a dedicated blog category to get a broad overview, post-by-post, of the book (they are listed in reverse order in the category, so start with the oldest).

Start of Chapter 1 – The Right Attributes

“You are the one, Neo”

The Matrix
Morpheus to Neo, by phone, before their first meeting

WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE LOOKING FOR BUT PROBABLY ARE
You have seen that look. The ones who just look like salespeople from the minute they walk through the door. They have charisma, they look sharp, they win over everyone they meet as they move through the room. Does that make them the natural-born salespeople you seek? If you have hired more than a small number of salespeople, you know that “that look” is not a good predictive indicator. But it does get more weight than it should because usually there isn’t much more substance or many other key differentiators on the criteria list when hiring a new salesperson.

When I ask CEOs, senior sales executives, and HR managers what criteria they use to select salespeople, I typically hear responses like this:

Our ideal candidate is someone with a college degree (or some other level of education), some industry experience, and it would be great if they had a big book of business from their last job that they could bring over here when they start.

Anything else?

Yeah, and they need to make a good impression / have a good smile / be personable / get excited about working here…

…or some other meaningless subjective element that in the absence of anything tangible, is simply not predictive of future sales success.

The problem is that none of these things correlate with sales performance in any kind of predictive, consistent way. Those who hire a lot of salespeople know this, but they don’t know what else to look for. So like the classic definition of insanity, they keep doing the same thing and hope to get different results. Let’s look at some of these common elements that managers are seeking but shouldn’t and identify why they are not the right criteria for hiring salespeople in spite of their popularity (to be continued….)

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Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David